Ridge's shale coalition contract expires
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HARRISBURG -- With the expiration of his one-year contract at the end of last month, former governor Tom Ridge is no longer the public face of the Marcellus Shale Coalition.
The industry group, which represents most of the major shale gas drillers in Pennsylvania, hired Mr. Ridge, 65, in July 2010 as a "strategic adviser." He and his team at Ridge Policy Group were compensated $900,000 for their year of work.
During that time, Mr. Ridge made public appearances on the group's behalf to talk about the benefits of natural gas drilling. That public relations work included a recent interview on Comedy Central's "The Colbert Report," where the satirical news host grilled him about hydraulic fracturing.
Travis Windle, a spokesman for the coalition, declined to say whether the contract was considered for renewal. He emphasized that the original agreement was for a one-year period.
Mark Holman of the Ridge Policy Group described it as a "mutually beneficial decision," adding that Mr. Ridge would continue to be involved in energy issues on a company-by-company basis.
The former governor also will still participate in a coalition-sponsored conference next month in Philadelphia.
Both sides touted Mr. Ridge's contributions in assisting the coalition as it got started and for his work in developing the industry's "guiding principles."
"Responsibly developing clean-burning American natural gas from the Marcellus Shale represents a historic opportunity to help put the commonwealth and our nation on a path toward a cleaner, prosperous and more secure energy future," said coalition president Kathryn Klaber in a statement. "Gov. Ridge understands this, and has been instrumental in conveying this potential to the public."
First Published August 5, 2011 12:00 am